Monday, August 23, 2010

Are you too Dependent on Assessment Tests?

145 - Crunching the NumbersImage by Holtsman via Flickr
It seems that many company these days are doing assessment test to check the quality of not only candidates applying for jobs in the company but also to see how well a potential employee would be when being promoted. However, it appears that some companies are almost becoming too dependent on them and in some cases taking them as the be all, do all system for evaluating employees. The problem is, like anything assessment tests are not foolproof and if not taken in with other factors could cost the company in the long run.

Let me give you an example I recently dealt with. Two people at a company have applied to be promoted.

Person A is currently a department manager, has a desire to achieve, has good results, is the leader in sales in the store and works with other employees to improve their numbers. This person also has the respect of the staff and this person is one of the first people they come to in the management staff. Not only does this person have the respect of the fellow employees, everyone above this person through the district manager wants to see this person promoted.

Person B on the other hand had to loose their department management position because they could not perform the duties of the job. In addition this person has show no initiative to improve themselves and has no respect among coworkers. In addition this person caused a $1200 loss to the company because of not paying attention to what they were doing. The only reason this person wants to promoted is to make more money. In addition store leadership does not consider this person to be reliable.

Who would you promote in this situation?

Well the assessment test shows that person B should be interviewed by the company for promotion and not person A. Because this is a big corporation that has the habit of running like a dinosaur at times, the company will interview person B but cannot go beyond the assessment tests and promote person A despite the fact they are the better candidate.

Of course the ultimate result will be that there is a good chance that person A will ultimately leave the company by finding a better position with another company possibly a competitor. On the other hand if the company actually promotes person B just because of results from the assessment test, most likely that person will fail at the position and either way, the company loses.

So while assessment tests may give you a look into an employee, you need to have a system sets up that lets you go beyond the results of an assessment test to insure that the right person gets promoted.
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